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Balanced budget proposed for Boyceville school, enrollment up

BOYCEVILLE — The annual meeting of the district residents of the Boyceville school district were presented with a balance budget proposal for the coming school year.

The Monday night meeting opened with the annual budget hearing in which District Superintendent Kevin Sipple informed residents that there would be a balanced budget for this coming year. Sipple spoke about the state aids that the district receives and noted that 64 percent of the revenue for school needs comes from state aids. The budget estimates those aids at $5,424,224, but Sipple stated that the district would not have a final figure until Wednesday. The proposed budget estimates those state aids some $110,435 less than the last budget. “The higher the state aids, the lower the levy will be,” Sipple noted.

The total expenditures for all funds is estimated at $11,866,951 which will require a tax load of $1,801,585 for operational expenses and another $1,316,132 to service the district’s debt. This amount requires a mill rate of 12.17295 mills, which is a four percent increase over last year. The district just recently learned that the equalized valuation of the district is up slightly to $256,118,527. The valuation of the district peeked in 2008 at over $285 million.

Sipple also talked about the district’s debt, noting that it is declining. At present the district is carrying a debt load of $9.3 million. Stating, “If we stay to the plan, without any large investments,” the district debt will drop considerable over the next few years.

Sipple also addressed the school’s fund balance at the end of the budget period, which is estimated to be at over $2.3 million. He stated, “The fund balance is where it should be.” He continued, “this is the first time in 18 years that we will not have cash flow borrowing.” In the past, the district has had to borrow money for a short time to meet cash flow expenditures, before tax revenues are received.

The board will approve the budget and tax levy at their meeting on Monday, October 27.

Enrollment Up

The annual meeting report included a third Friday count of enrollment history. That report indicated that the district has 21 more students than it had a year ago. The count is 787 students in early childhood through grade twelve. Last year at this time the count was 766. The district high was in 2001 with a count of 953 students.

During his report at the annual meeting Sipple noted to the residents of the district that, “there is little doubt a transformation is taking place in education. Our school district is on the cutting edge of making these transformational changes. We continue to lead in the use of technology, adoption of Educator Effectiveness, adoption of the Common Core Standards, RTI, PBIS, Smarter Balance Assessment System, just to mention a few.”

Sipple praised the staff and students for their advancements, saying that the district has an average of 22.5 on the ACT tests noting that it is higher than it has ever been and that more students took the test. But he told the meeting that after discussing the testing with other members of the staff, they concluded that students would be spending some two and a half weeks during the school year taking tests. “That’s time taken away from instruction,” Sipple concluded.

Sipple also noted that Tiffany Creek Elementary School received a Wisconsin Title One School of Recognition Award for the fifth straight year. Principal Nick Kaiser has just returned from Madison Monday evening after accepting the award.

School Board President Gail Stark was elected chairman of the meeting and she plowed through the numerous items on the agenda. The meeting approved all of the agenda items without making changes from prior years.